Who we are
Physics Partners is a dynamic educational charity with a mission to improve physics teaching in state schools. We support newly qualified teachers, and teachers without a physics qualification, to give better and more exciting lessons, and to inspire pupils to consider taking physics at A-level. Physics underpins a vast range of careers – from engineering through medical research and on to IT-based industries and video games.
How we work
All of our support is free. We use teams of expert trainers, who visit schools to work with teachers and technicians. We help prepare lesson plans, and we train teachers and technicians to conduct practical experiments, using the school’s own equipment. Our support is backed up by mentoring using email and Skype; and we will soon have a free online library of more than 200 experiments, giving step by step instructions, together with notes for teachers, technicians and pupils. All experiments are being cross-referenced to AQA, EDEXCEL, OCR and WJEC.
Why we exist
Physics is essential to our understanding of the universe. It is also the gateway to many of today’s most exciting careers. All pupils with scientific aptitude should have the chance to develop their scientific skills and knowledge. The shortage of qualified physics teachers in the UK is a barrier to many pupils achieving their scientific ambitions. Thousands of lessons are given by teachers without a physics-based degree. We use our expertise to support these teachers to acquire the understanding and confidence to give engaging physics lessons, and to capture the imagination of their pupils for this vitally important subject.
Nearly ten years ago, our founding trustees recognised the need to improve physics teaching. With help from the Ernest Cook Foundation, we set up pilot schemes to help a small number of schools. We quickly realised that we were meeting a real need. Our method of going into schools and training staff on their own equipment worked well, and has been independently validated. We are now giving support to more than 140 schools.
We are proud to be supported by
Bryan Berry, Chief Executive
Former Tomorrow’s Engineers Director, founding Principal at Heathrow UTC, Science Learning Centre South West Director. Member of the Institute of Physics
Head of Partnerships, King’s School Canterbury
Thomas Cookson (Chairman)
Former Head of King Edward V1 School, Southampton; Sevenoaks School and Winchester College
Sir Michael Jenkins OBE
Former Chair of the Education Committee, Sevenoaks School and former Chief Executive of LIFFE and Chairman of The London Clearing House
Former Head of Ryde School, Isle of Wight, and author of numerous physics textbooks
Former Head of Brockhill Park College, Folkestone
Head of Science, Buxton School, Waltham Forest
Former inspector for HMI, Ofsted and the Independent Schools Inspectorate
Sir Richard Friend FRS
Cavendish Professor of Physics, Cambridge University
Dr Alan Barr
Professor of Particle Physics, Oxford University
Headmistress of St Mary’s School Ascot, and previously Head of Physics at Eton College
A founding trustee of Physics Partners and former CEO of the Independent Schools Council
Fellow in Science Education, University of York
Head of Education pre-19 at the Institute of Physics